Charlotte Jane – the 1st Ship

The deck of the Charlotte Jane drawn by one of Canterbury’s future Superintendants, James Edward Fitzgerald. What an amazing window this man has given us of the first ship that arrived at Lyttelton at 10am on the 16th December 1850. James also was the first off the Charlotte Jane, scrambling almost over the side to be the first to step foot on the new land, leaving his new wife behind in their cabin suffering a headache. There on the jetty he met his old friend, Christchurch’s founder, John Robert Godley (who at first didn’t recognise Fitzgerald due to huge weight loss and a ferocious beard). The two were lost for words in happy tears. I’m sure it was a huge day!

The first view of New Zealand came to the settlers in the shape of Stewart Island on the 11th December. Those on board also had a view of Otago, Foveaux Strait and of course, the southern view of Banks Peninsula as they sailed along the east coast.

There was 1 birth, 1 marriage, 3 deaths and a disagreement between two passengers where one ended up being ‘socked’ square in the mouth by the other! The Charlotte Jane also had the company of an American ship named Zeno who was on its way to England. They kindly relieved the soon to be Cantabs (Canterburians) of their mail, taking vital correspondence back to loved ones.

I have been unable to find out the fate of this amazing ship; I have read that ships were known to change names so maybe she slipped away into history that way.

*image courtesy of http://www.historic.org.nz/ *

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